Industry News

Tales of the Cocktail 2017 Announces Gray Coat, Black Coat, and White Coat CAPs

CAPs pouring drinks
Tales welcomes its new CAPs senior apprentices for 2017.

NEW ORLEANS, LA--February 15, 2017--Tales of the Cocktail is pleased to announce the 2017 CAPs senior apprentices. Twenty-nine talented returning applicants from around the world have been selected as Grey, Black, and White Coats to participate in this summer’s Tales of the Cocktail. These apprentices were selected from a competitive pool of candidates on the basis of their craft, expertise, and experience. Newly promoted Grey Coats Alexandra Belton, Cameron Brown, Aidan Bowie, Jason Coleman, Ka'ai Fong, Yorgos Gigis, Jeff Lichtenberger, Leah Majalca, Adil Yamin and Samantha McCulloch join former CAPs leaders to form this year’s leadership team.

Founded in 2008, the Tales of the Cocktail Apprentice Program aims to give talented bartenders the opportunity to hone their craft alongside industry veterans. Working directly with presenters for the Tales of the Cocktail seminars, the apprentices get the chance to gain experience working high-volume, large-scale events, while simultaneously learning about the history and new directions of their craft. Post-Tales of the Cocktail, CAPS members continue to use these valuable skills in their home bars and personal work, helping them to achieve new heights in their industry. In addition to technical skills, the close camaraderie and team dynamics that develop between the apprentices have also become some of the most valuable tools they carry away.

With the growth of the CAPS program, more opportunities have developed for returning members to take on leadership roles to help further their management experience. Each separate tier can be easily identified by the different bar coats worn by the apprentices at the Tales of the Cocktail event. White Coats, the most senior apprentices, are responsible for overlooking the entire program, while Black Coats assist them with the execution. Grey Coats, also referred to as “Platoon Leaders,” are responsible for managing the Red Coats, who are first-time apprentices. This tiered structure allows apprentices to gain a new set of skills each time they return to the program, giving them a wide set of tools they can use for further career development.

"The CAP program has provided me with an incredible wealth of life experiences,” says apprentice Scott Tipton, of Bread and Butter Concepts in Kansas City, Missouri, of the program, “I'm beyond proud and humbled to be offered the opportunity to return as a Black Coat, to continue to help foster these experiences for other CAPs, while still furthering my own growth amidst some of our industry's most inspiring minds."

The CAPs program boasts a global reputation, with returning applicants applying for leadership positions hailing from thirteen different countries: Israel, Singapore, Ghana, Spain, South Korea, US, UK, Canada, Greece, China, Italy, Mexico, and Sweden. This year’s CAPs leadership team was selected on the basis of their recipe submissions, teamwork, and experience level within the industry. This team was assembled to ensure a fair balance between those with lifelong bar experience and those newer to the industry, with the aim of fostering diversity and learning opportunities at Tales of the Cocktail 2017.

After the conclusion of this year’s Tales festivities, former CAPs members will be able to continue pursuing knowledge of their craft through the Cocktail Apprentice Scholarship Program. Founded in 2010, the Scholarship Program is designed to aid former CAPs apprentices in pursuing additional learning opportunities through the use of grants. Former apprentices are also eligible to apply for the B.A.R Scholarship, in which, after a rigorous selection process, eight former apprentices will receive a $4,450 stipend for tuition and travel expenses to attend the BAR 5-Day Spirits & Mixology Certification Program in New York City.

“I am truly grateful to have been asked to join the CAP team as a white coat this year, and I can't wait to see how I can give back to the program that has had such a huge impact on my career,” says Laura Kelton, of Bad Hunter in Chicago, Illinois, “I have a lot of admiration for both the program and those who have brought it to this point, so to work alongside them is always the highlight of my year. I am looking forward to see what TOTC 2017 will hold!"

For more information about the Cocktail Apprentice Program, as well as bios for this year’s CAP team, visit

White Coats:

Don Lee, Cocktail Kingdom, New York, New York, USA

Cris Dehlavi, M Bar and Restaurant, 
Columbus, Ohio, USA

Trevor Kallies, The Donnelly Group, Vancouver British Columbia, Canada

Nathan McCarley-O'Neill, NoMad Bar, New York, New York, USA

Ciaran Wiese, The Last Word, Queens, New York, USA

Laura Kelton, Bad Hunter, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Black Coats:

Hannah Waters, Skinny's Lounge, Singapore

A-K Hada, PDT, New York, New York, USA

Scott Tipton, Bread and Butter Concepts, 
Kansas City, Missouri, USA

Dean Hurst, R&D Hospitality, Tampa, Florida, USA

Grey Coats:

Alexandra Belton, The Aviary,Chicago, Illinois, USA

Cameron Brown, Cactus Club Cafe KYC, Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada

Aidan Bowie, Dandelyan, London, England, UK

Jodi Calderon, The Normandie Club, Los Angeles, California, USA

Jason Coleman, Sazerac Brand Ambassador, New Orleans, LA, USA

Joy Flanagan, Armsby Abbey,Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

Ka'ai Fong, Andaz Maui, Wailea, Hawaii, USA

Yorgos Gigis, Barflies, Odori Vermuteria Di Atene, Athens, Greece

Juyoung Kang, The Dorsey at The Venetian, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Jessica Lambert, Boleo & Vol.39 at The Kimpton Gray Hotel, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Jeff Lichtenberger, Extra Virgin, Kansas City, Missouri, USA

Leah Majalca,The Last Word,Queens, New York, USA

Samantha McCulloch, Niche Food Group, Cleveland-Heath, St. Louis, Missouri, USA

Robert Murphy, Vol. 39, Chicago, Illinois, USA

John Nugent, Lily & Bloom, Hong Kong, China

Berit Jane Soli-Holt, NoMad Bar, New York, New York, USA

Andrea Tateosian, Urbana, Washington, DC, USA

Angel Teta, Ataula, Portland, Oregon, USA

Taeeun Yoon, Alice Seoul, Seoul, South Korea

Adil Yamin, Prime & Proper/Townhouse, Detroit, Michigan, USA

About Tales of the Cocktail

Founded in 2002, Tales of the Cocktail has grown from a small gathering of cocktail lovers into the world’s premier cocktail festival. Each year the international spirits industry is welcomed to New Orleans for a week of seminars, tastings, networking events and much more. With 200+ annual events developed specifically for bartenders, distillers and other spirits professionals, Tales of the Cocktail is the industry’s annual meeting place for the exchanging of new ideas, products and techniques.

Tales of the Cocktail also produces a number of other events and programs such as Tales of the Cocktail on Tour, Tales 365, Tales of the Toddy and Daiquiri Season, all to further the mission of supporting and growing the international cocktail community.

About the New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society

Tales of the Cocktail is produced by the New Orleans Culinary & Cultural Preservation Society (NOCCPS), a non-profit organization committed to supporting, promoting and growing the cocktail industry in New Orleans and around the world. In addition to offering opportunities to learn and acquire new skills through Tales of the Cocktail events and Tales 365, the NOCCPS invests the proceeds back into the spirits industry. Since 2008, the NOCCPS has invested more than $886,000 into programs like the Cocktail Apprentice Program, a tuition reimbursement program, the Apprentice medical aid fund, educational scholarships and a new health and wellness program for members of the hospitality industry.

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